Imperial War Museum North

#7 in Best Things To Do in Manchester
Imperial War Museum North picture
Gordon Bell/Shutterstock

Key Info

Trafford Wharf Road

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Museums, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.5

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Imperial War Museum North, a part of the series of Imperial Museums throughout the U.K., traces Britain's involvement in different conflicts from 1914 through the present day. Exhibits include an audio-visual Big Picture Show on a variety of topics, from "Children at War" to "Al-Mutanabbi Street: A Reaction." There are also 1,400 historic documents and objects, including the gun that shot the first British shell in WWI. Families will especially appreciate the museum's TimeStack program, in which visitors can hear about different items in the museum's collection and actually handle them.

Many visitors say they were moved by the presentation of the artifacts and displays at the Imperial War Museum North. One TripAdvisor user said: "We found that the museum gave us great insight into the horror of man's failings. […] This museum is an absolute must for appreciative deep thinking people."

The Imperial War Museum North, located on Trafford Wharf Road, is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can reach it via either the MediaCityUK or Harbour City Metrolink tram stops. Admission is free. For more information, visit the museum's website.

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#1 John Rylands Library

The University of Manchester's John Rylands Library is known as much for its beautiful architecture as it is for its collection of rare books and manuscripts. The impressive gothic structure took 10 years to build — after plans were drawn up in 1889, the library finally opened to the public in 1900. Among its vast collection are medieval illuminated manuscripts, featuring a copy of Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales;" the personal letters and papers of notable figures like Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell; and even a Gutenberg Bible. There are also a handful of rotating exhibits."

One TripAdvisor user compared the ambiance of the John Rylands Library to the library from Harry Potter's Hogwarts with its own restricted section and dragon carvings. This user also had some practical advice: "If you need to nip into the loo, use those on the second floor rather than the basement — fine old Victorian craftsmanship on display, with lovely comfortable wooden seats!"

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